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Caribbean Dive Operators collaborate to Launch Saba’s First Trimix Course

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Located in the Northeast Caribbean, just 28 miles southwest of St. Martin, the small island of Saba is just the tip of an undersea volcano. With a land mass of only 5 square miles, you might think that not much happens there, but in actual fact, there’s lots happening in Saba – most of it underwater.

Beneath the surface, Saba is a labyrinth of lava flows, caverns, deep sea pinnacles, sea mounts and mind blowing wall dives. If you like big marine life, Saba has it. Hammerheads, whale sharks, mantas, eagle rays, turtles, eels, huge schools of fish, and much more. With so much great deep diving available, two local dive operators Octopus Diving and Saba Deep have decided to get together to run Saba’s first Trimix course.

Tony Waterfield of Saba Deep and Chris Davies of Octopus Diving and Caribbean Technical Diving first met when Tony hired Chris to service his scuba compressor. Tony was delighted to find out that not only was Chris a great compressor mechanic, he was also a certified IANTD Technical Diving Instructor. What cemented the partnership was that Chris is located on the nearby island of St. Martin, just a short 1 hour ferry ride away. As luck would have it, Tony was looking to do a Trimix course and Chris wanted to do a Trimix Instructor course.

To teach the course, Chris brought in his diving mentor Rich Stevenson of Diving Marine Solutions in the UK. Rich, a certified Trimix Instructor Trainer, also an accomplished underwater cameraman, has been quoted by CBS news program “60 Minutes” as being the “world’s most accomplished underwater cameraman”. Together they conducted Saba’s first Nomoxic Trimix Course. With private villa accommodations in the “Haiku House” provided by the Queen’s Garden Resort, not only was the course a great learning experience, it was great to experience some of the best accommodations and the finest cuisine that Saba has to offer. During the course both Chris and Tony soon discovered that Nomoxic Trimix is the idea gas for diving Saba’s plunging walls and deep coral pinnacles.

“The beauty of Nomoxic is that with 20% oxygen in the mix, there is enough oxygen to sustain divers on surface and due to its helium content, at 60 meters, Nomoxic has an END (equivalent narcosis depth) of only 36 meters where nitrogen narcosis isn’t a problem. Diving this gas will allow our customers to comfortably experience the deep walls and pinnacles of Saba and the deeper wrecks of Saint Martin,” says Chris Davies.

For further information on diving in Saba or St. Martin contact Octopus Diving at:
info@octopusdiving.com www.octopusdiving.com or phone +1-914-487-1315.

Marine Life & Conservation

PADI partners with global skincare brand Medik8

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PADI®’s global non-profit the AWARE Foundation™ is teaming up with leading sustainability-focused skincare brand Medik8 to save our most critical ecosystem on the planet – the ocean.

As the new corporate sponsor of the PADI AWARE Foundation’s 2023 Community Grant Programme, Medik8 will be supporting four grassroots conservation projects that range from protecting megafauna like turtles and whales from entanglement to fuelling hands-on citizen science initiatives like seagrass restoration.

The PADI AWARE Community Grant Programme is designed to award ocean protection initiatives that are in direct support of the United Nations Decade of Science for Sustainable Development in five distinct categories: coral restoration, developing marine protected areas, eliminating marine debris, reducing the effects of climate change, and protecting species threatened with extinction like sharks and turtles. In 2022 PADI AWARE™ dedicated nearly one-quarter of its public funds to empower local communities to take action for our shared blue planet.

“Last year we launched the Grant Programme to directly support PADI Members and NGOs driving meaningful conservation projects, often who have little or no funding support,” says Danna Moore, PADI AWARE Foundation’s Global Director. “This year, due to the collaboration with Medik8, we can provide more resources directly to local communities that need them most.  Medik8 is a like-minded organisation that shares our science-based, sustainability-driven, and community-oriented values – and will be a strong partner committed to helping us create positive ocean change.”

Medik8’s support of the PADI AWARE Community Grants programme is in line with their ethos of making a positive impact through driving sustainability strategies with everything they do – from reducing carbon impact and waste to investing in being an ethical business with direct social investments. Their connection and deep love for the ocean is rooted in Medik8’s founder Elliot Isaacs, who is a PADI Master Scuba Diver™.

“As a brand, we strongly believe that increased social investment will allow us to make a more significant mark on wider society,” says Alexandra Florea, Head of Sustainability at Medik8. “Working with grassroots organisations who understand exactly what is needed on the ground will mean we can generate the greatest impact. We chose PADI as our long-term charitable partner because, like us, they put science at the heart of everything they do to bring about positive results.”

The PADI AWARE Grantee projects Medik8 is sponsoring fuel the impact of local citizen science initiatives driving global change like Kosamare Seagrass Restoration in Greece, a grant recipient from 2022 and now 2023. The other three grantee projects have also been selected and range from marine debris removal to climate change mitigation – and are set to be announced in the coming months.

The PADI AWARE Community Grant programme is open to all PADI Dive Centres around the world, along with locally-based NGOs and charities working on marine conservation issues that operate on a budget below $1 Million USD.

“With incredible partners like Medik8 who are equally committed to creating positive ocean change, a swell of hope for our shared blue planet is becoming stronger with every project we support – further proving that the ripples from local action really do have a global impact for us all,” says Moore.

The next round of proposal submissions is on 4 April 2023, with more information at www.padi.com/aware/grant-funding-criteria.

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Diving with… Ben Williams and Kay Van Leuven, Sunchaser Scuba, British Virgin Islands

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Ben Williams and Kay Van Leuven

What is the name of your business?

Sunchaser Scuba

What is your role within the business?

Owner/operator

How long has the business operated for?

32 years in total and we have been here since 2010, working for the previous owner, then bought the current company from him starting in 2015.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

Ben since 2003 and he is a PADI MSDT and SDI instructor
Kay since 2010 and she is a PADI MSDT and SDI instructor

What is your favorite type of diving?

Ben loves pinnacle dives; Kay loves shallow coral dives

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you, what would it be?

We offer valet diving for a trip of your lifetime. Personal service is key in our business, together with small groups.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

Ben favorite dive is the Invisibles because of the amount of marine life; Kay favorite dive is the wreck of the Rhone, because of it’s historical value, marine life and the amount of coral growth on it.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We offer reef and wreck diving, rendez vous diving with your charter boat so we can pick you up straight off your boat.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Being able to dive every day and show the underwater world of the BVI

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Ben’s favorite is sharks and for Kay it is dolphins.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Ever rising supplier prices.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we do treatment for STCLD, shark sightings and beach clean ups

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

The hotel we work out of is still recovering from the 2017 hurricane so more places to stay will be coming along in the future. We have an amazing local non profit called Beyond The Reef in the BVI who are always making new artificial reefs.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

We feel it is a great industry and it is very rewarding being able to teach people to dive and therefore increase awareness. One of the biggest changes that would be great to change is to be able to make things cheaper so it is more accessible to our local kids/divers and therefore increase the number of divers in our local community.

Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

The BVI is very underrated and untouched, making it a great destination for both novice and
experienced divers.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business? 

www.sunchaserscuba.com
info@sunchaserscuba.com
+12833442766
https://www.instagram.com/sunchaser_scuba/
https://www.facebook.com/sunchaserscuba/

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